Page images

• What?"

ious to be in time, that they were an age too soon. Roll "Only juber, or a sailor's hornpipe.”

call over, in the grey dawn, they few back to their “Good! give us juber.”

rooms, drove through their toilet-over a tin washSmitth arose from the chair, bent over, and as Julian basin-placed their seven-by-nines for inspection, and struck up, commenced patting with hands and feet; sunrise beheld the heroes at morning drill. then carried away, perhaps, by virtue of reaction from Glory at sunrise does not sit well on an empty the late gloom, or no less by the spirit that lurks in fid- stomach. But, beneath the plastic hand of the squaddles, our friend fell into a regular break-down." marcher, who was moulding them into statues, Smitth

Redesdale threw down his poetry, and kept time bore up better than his two fellows. Redesdale felt all with his own hands, saying it was equal to a plantation things blackening around him, and soon that young gendance.

tleman fell fainting to the ground. He was carried Their fun was rudely interrupted by a loud rap, as if back to quarters, and Smitth cut breakfast to stay by with the butt of a musket, and in walked the sentinel. him—which was very good of Smitth. He brought his musket tp a charge bayonet, and routed During that forenoon, Philip went to his first recitathe party, fiddle, chairs, slates, blankets and all. After tion. The plebes were divided into sections. The secchasing the plebes about the room to his heart's content, tion with which he went, was composed of youths of he left them, with the injunction to keep silence during all ages, sizes, apparel and breeding. Phil was one of study hours, and triumphantly bore off the violin as the smallest. The Cadet who presided at the pedagospoils of war. But he quickly returned, and addressing gic desk, was himself a mere chit-scarcely turned sixRedesdale, the quietest of the culprits, said

teen-but smart of his years, forward in his class, and " What were you reading ?”

of first rate importance, in his own estimation. “Poetry, sir."

It was quite laughable to behold the little fellow “Poetry ?-humph!"

perched up there instructing the plebes--many of whom Stepping on the piazza, he leaned over the balcony, were much older than, he, and some of them already and called

graduates of college. But he did it with all possible “Corporal of the guard-number three.”

gravity and immeasurable unction. And yet the urchin The corporal came. They confer together some time. made the mistake to suppose_indeed he was quite sure A knock at the door, and the corporal enters.

--that out of West Point was nothing known. There “Which young gentleman in this room was reading had he learned his little all, which to him was proof a book of poetry ?"

positive that the rest of the world was a sort of Naza“1, Mayberry—what's the meaning of it all ?” reth, from whence came never a prophet. This sort of

"Silence, sir! Have you not already broken the thing wears off, however, as do most things which Rules and Articles of War? Have you not got your cause men and boys to put on airs. friend Smitth—with a double ‘t'-in one scrape ?” Yet, reader, laugh not too hastily at the little Sir " Why, Mayberry

Oracle, if, indeed, it be any fit subject for laughter. Silence, sir! And now guilty of the atrocity of There were many minds there inferior to his, whom Sir reading poetry! Who ever heard before of a plebe's Oracle could well instruct and did instruct—and Philip reading poetry? Unheard-of impudence! Give me the was one of them. Philip's arithmetical knowledge lay book."

all in a chaotic state, in sharp, angular, broken fragWith the most serious air he took possession of the ments, in no wise regularly piled, but tumbled roughly contraband goods, and departed.

into his mind at the Olympian district school. And as The loss of his book and the treachery of his friend - for his reading, spelling, and writing, they were more they were brought up together–equally harassed the vigorous than correct, and caused some smiles in the young Virginian, while the capture of his dear fiddle section room at Smitth's expense-smiles that tiny Sir completely overwhelmed Mr. Julian.

Oracle reproved severely with his eyes. And there But Smittle was ready to die with laughter. The two were many who considered themselves quite above the discomfited knights regarded him with haughty dis- trifling details of language and arithmetic, who can yet pleasure. Hitherto they had lowered themselves to an remember the sly touching-up they received at the equality with Smitth. It was quite time to hold up, hands of diminutive Sir Oracle, particularly on the

Again the old moody silence oppressed the room score of proper pronunciation, or the unthought-of till tattoo beat, and the trio began to undress for bed. why and wherefore in so simple a thing as simple diviRedesdale, like a lad of spirit and independence, was sion. not ashamed to kneel in the corner and say his prayers. So it need not be thought strange that Philip tremBut again Mayberry interrupted him. He came just bled already for his own Olympian vernacular, when before taps, with the lost volume and the lost violin. he heard so accomplished a scholar as Redesdale himHe had no time for advice this time. Taps was at self corrected for calling there, thar, and where, whar; hand.

and the sprightly Julia

who boasted of having masReveille awakened the plebes. Down they scrambleri, tered Euclid, caught now in Division. making blankets fly, and clothes carefully made ready Small Sir Oracle did no small service to the section. the night before, for the most hasty summons, were He planted them, as it were, upon their legs. They tossed on as they hurried down the stairways, so anx- | paused over statements made beneath that critical eye,

[ocr errors]


Would you

and began to consider the reason for things, when he “ Hem, hem! Yes, sir, thar's such a man down thar. took nothing for granted. Seeing what they were to He keeps a saw-mill." avoid, they thus began to go straight.

He held up

Mayberry, Redesdale, and Julian laughed. Colin and points, by which they, too, were taught to erect land- Philip wondered at what. marks in their demonstrations. Philip saw, at once, “Possibly some connection." how much more satisfactory knowledge is that comes “Hem, hem! sort of kin; he inarried my cousin Mi to hand ship-shape-a fact, perhaps, too little heeded at randa.” many high seminaries in the land. And the brightest

Again, the three laughed, and the two wondered at scholar of the Olympian district school went back to his what. But “old cadet ” Mayberry began to feel quarters that day, quite a dunce in his own estimation. dubious whether he was quizzing the monster, or being

At his room Philip found a fresh comer, who, if tradi- quizzed. tion is to be believed, was a marvellous curiosity. From " Those clothes--latest fashion, eh? what corner of the world such a creature came, why he lend them to a fellow to wear down to Benny's ?" came, in the name of whom he came, would have puz- Yes, sir! They were reckoned pretty peert clothes zled you to tell. A great, gor-bellied, round-shouldered, down whar I came from. I'll lend 'em, this minute." angainly creature, in blue bombazine coat, burnt brown

He was already taking off his coat for the purpose. pants, both a world too short, and green morocco slip- But, Mayberry thanked hiin, laughing. He did not pers. He had the thickest of gristle for lips, the sharp- want them yet. He would come some night. est and longest of fangs for teeth, the dullest of holes Smitth leaned over, in heart, towards Colin. He knew for eyes. His hair, uncombed and dusty, was a mass

not why. Colin Clout may have been a schoolmaster at of gunny bags. He looked at least thirty-five. He had home, but he was certainly no scholar abroad. Philip a shocking bad hat. This last new cadet, Julian at had it in his power, perhaps, to show the stranger some once christened Colin Clout. Colin said he came from kindness other than words. Philip's words were few. Tar River.

Colin manifested a rough way of jumping at correct “In what State ?"

conclusions, but his manner of “cyphering it out," “Hem !-North Car'lina—everybody knew that.” much less of demonstrating, was still more uncouth, and

It was suspected that he had come on in the place not so satisfactory. Smitth knew that would never of his son. Or, might he not have purloined his war

pass him, and set about instructing him in an unofficious rant from somebody else? Might he not have met the

way, so far as he might. actual owner of the warrant in the forest somewhere,

Sometimes the pupil's pupil would grow furious at and slain him? No, sagacious reader—you should have being required to explain things. seen Colin, a glance would have shown that he was too

“Hem! plain as two and two make four. A man's & honest to steal, too good-natured to kill. But he own- fool that can't see that !ed up to having taught school. Possibly he came on in

Then would Philip pat the monster gently, as it the place of one of his scholars. Possibly the good were, and kindly go over the explanation for him—a M.o. of Colin's district sent the warrant blank, for hundred times, if necessary. Colin to fill with the worthiest name in his school,

It helped Philip. In leading the other to the root of M. O.'s are commonly so disinterested—and Colin had things so often, he learned the way better himself. inserted his own name. No—Colin evidently was not

The examination for admission came, and proved a versed in the stock exchange. Conjecture is wholly at double triumph to Smitth. He passed, and the poor loss to account for Colin's presence there with the war-friendless Colin Clout along with him. rant. But there he was, in the seven-by-nine, with three others, and scarcely room enough for Colin alone to stretch out on his blanket.

OHAPTER VII. Mayberry comes in to see his plebe, Redesdale. Julian arose and introduced the distinguished stranger, as “Mr. Colin Olout, who lived next door to Fairy Land, on the Tar River.” Mayberry is very much struck After taps one night, Mayberry came for Colin's with his unique appearance, and falls into conversation clothes. After drawing the sunburnt browns and the with the distinguished stranger. The latter hemmed blue bombazine over his grey uniform, there seemed and hawed, and placed his hand upon his mouth when room enough to stow away half the corps of cadets, and he spoke, as if it were the door of his heart—honest to spare. The moon shone in at the window, showing fellow—and he fain would lift the latch of it.

Mayberry off before the eyes of the plebes in a ludiMayberry inquired, “Do you chew ?"

crous light. But when he topped off with Colin's hat, Colin hemmed twice, put one hand to his mouth, the what a roar they burst into! other to his pocket, and drawing out an unbroken plug Their merriment, however, was stopped by a rap at of geruine twist, offered the whole to Mayberry. He the door, and in walked an inspecting officer. A tall, said nothing; the latch of his heart opened in a prefer- gaunt, copper-colored, old infantry Indian fighter, apable way. Mayberry again inquires :

parently. He held up the dark lantern usually carried “Do you know a man down your way by the name by such ghastly visitors prowling about the cadet's bedof Caliban ?"

sides, at night, and the red glare lit up the faces of the




young gentlemen, one after another, except Mayberry's, “Gentlemen,” spoke a figure with musket and belts, who hid himself beneath the flap of Colin Clout's great “I am sergeant of the guard. Does new Cadet Orson ancouth cap.

—that was Colin's real name, my friends"live here ?” The officer stepped up to him, and turned off the “O, hem-hem!" groaned beneath a blanket. cap from his face, by which he held the lantern closely. “What?” repeated the polite sergeant. * Mr. Mayberry !”

"No," growled out Julian. The youth had nothing to say.

“Tell me all your names.” “What are you doing here, sir ?-disguised, too! “Redesdale, Smith, Clout, and myself—Julian." Whose citizens' clothes are those you have on ?"

“ Clout-Colin Clout! That'll do. He's the man. Even the possession of citizens' clothes was against Rise, sir. Rise and dress yourself.” The sergeant put the regulations.

the point of his bayonet in Colin's blanket and tossed it The officer threw the light up and down the gro- off, displaying his uncouth person sprawling on the tesque figure, which, shrinking from his gaze, turned floor. He seemed in no hurry to rise, till the sergeant away its face, and trembled. He could scarce control touched him with the cold steel. Then Colin jumped his risibilities at the sight, but stern duty, etc.

up. He hem'd, and whimpered, and drew on his gar"Mr. Mayberry, you are well aware that visiting ments slowly and reluctantly. The sergeant served him anywhere after taps is strictly prohibited, and most of with a gentle reminder of speed with a prick of his all, in the new Cadets' quarters. Your example before bayonet. these inexperienced youths is positively shocking- “Je-ru-sa-lem!” cried Colin, “I wish I had you ahem! I've said it-positively shocking!

down on Tar River !" "Again I demand whose clothes are these?”

“But as you haven't, and as we have you here at Mayberry kept silence. The plebes lay on the floor, West Point, to make a soldier of you—learn dispatch, looking aghast over their blankets. The monster figure and don't mind the scratch of a toasting iron. Come, of Colin Clout began to heave uneasily, as May- sir, are you almost dressed p” berry stood transfixed by the ray of that lantern, and And the gallant sergeant pricked Colin again. standing mute.

The victim threw his eyes wistfully upon a chair, as “Hem !” said Colin, putting his hand to his mouth, though he'd like to convert it into a pine knot for some “Don't tell."

extraordinary purpose, then glanced woefully at the “ Are these your clothes, sir ?" said the inspector to armed sergeant and the two men at the open door, with poor Colin.

their bayonets gleaming in the moonlight; then went on “ Hem! hem!”

dressing. “Speak, sir! Are these your clothes ?” thundered “Mr. Clout,” said the sergeant, when the prisoner the copper-colored old infantry ghost.

had completed his hasty toilet, “It is my duty to “Je-ru-sa-lem! yes !” cried Colin, sitting up in his blindfold you." bed, excitedly.

Colin grasped the chair nervously, then relaxed his “Look a-here, stranger, down whar I live, folks don't hold. He was blindfolded. They led him out on the come in at night, waking folks up-thar's the door!” balcony, placed him between the files. Escort, for

“ Consider yourself under arrest, sir—under arrest-ward, march !" and three regular trainps blended into ahem! I've said it! You, too—Mr. Mayberry-go to one, and one irregular shuffle of Colin's slippers echoed your quarters, under arrest-ahem! I've said it !" Exit along the piazza, till the sounds died away. the old officer.

Julian proposed at once to rise and follow, and see " That's old Eyes Right, the commandant of Cadets !" what was next to be done with Colin. But he was perwas the terrible announcement Mayberry made, with a suaded out of it by the two others, on the score of danwry face, as he pulled off the clothes.

ger to himself-out of quarters after taps being pro" Whew! we are bound to catch it now."

claimed a heinous offence. And the corporal left the room. Philip, Redesdale, It was long ere either of the lads fell asleep-not till and Julian ready to die with laughter-Colin in a state after a world of wondering surmises, each one conof consternation. Our little friend was the first to demned as unsatisfactory in solving this midnight probcheck his mirth, and helped to soothe the great massy | lem. They knew not what time it was when Colin was bulk agitated between its two blankets, at his side. It bronght back, waking them all from a feverish nap, but really seemed a serious matter to have addressed the resolutely refusing to go beyond, “Hem! hem !” in commandant after such a fashion. Colin sprang up reply to their eager inquiries, the latch string of his several times with a view to desert the place while it confidence being drawn in. was yet night and be safe--plunge into the river or the Colin said that it was nearly daybreak when he mountains, and escape the dreaded punishment—dis- returned, on their questioning him next day; but obstimissal—shooting—hanging—what not. But the three nately persisted in his silence as to anything beside. youngsters advised so strongly against so rash a ma- Philip only, who sympathized with him, refrained from nouvre, that Colin remained.

asking questions. All other plebes in the class, were A rude rap at the door, next sent a new shiver across vexing the unfortunate night and day. Colin felt Philip's him, especially as it was preceded by the regular heavy silent sympathy, and was drawn nearer to him. IIC tramp of armed men on the balcony.

ardently wished to unbosom himself, but was kept back by some powerful motive. He took a "powerful a question, or answer it—if you have politics, or no shine," as he expressed it, to the boy-was never far politics—if your hat is cocked up, or cocked down-do from him, and often the silent two might be seen, child you clean your old cadet patron's musket, or don't you; and giant, groping disconsolately about, seldom, if ever, no matter what you are,

—what you do—where you go speaking. Equally solicitous concerning each other, 1-how you look; eyes right, or eyes left-you are and himself, to keep what they know and felt, hidden devilled. The best way is, undoubtedly, to thrash the from the babbling world of youngsters.

first man that looks at you—provided you don't get At release from quarters, when the “old cadets thrashed. They don't devil Colin Clout." rushed through the sally port to the south side of South “Don't !" echoed Philip. Barracks, to delight themselves at the expense of the “No—do they ?" Philip relapsed into his usual plebes, Sinitth had heard his name called repeatedly, silence. by a most villainous, squeaking voice.

“ l’d as soon have a mummy for a tent-mate! Smitth, “Smitth! Smitth!”

go to the devil!" But, on going towards the group of young gentlemen, Julian consoled himself on his violin. These two and asking who called, he was always met with a gene- roommates had been assigned to the same company, and ral shout, accompanied by the query: “Do you think became tent-mates. Redesdale had fallen elsewhere, yourself the only Smitth ?”

and Colin in a still different division; for the corps of The voice would come always from some one behind, cadets was divided into four companies. who, on his turning to see, would vanish, or keep Yet Philip and Colin preserved their intimacy. dumb.

Instead of going now to the gentleman spoken of by the “Smitth! Smitth! Smitth !" with a—tt, was one day fiddler, he went to Colin's tent; and the two saunheard, as usual. The next moment there was a yell— tered down upon the rocky cliffs, to see General Scott Colin Clout had discovered the varmint; rushed among depart on the steamer. They now were in grey unithe old cadets, and seized him with the grasp of a form. Their drilling had begun to tell well upon them. blacksmith's vice. Colin's eyes—oh, how they glared! Colin looked twenty-five, instead of thirty-five. A He shook the cadet, as a polar bear would shake a fondness for order and regularity began to develop. young Greenlander. He boxed his ears, and shook him Philip's first perception of Art, was order. The lives till the boy grew black and blue in the face.

of the cadets, in their manners, dressing in ranks, “To the rescue, old cadets !" was shouted over bar- marching to direct or fixed points, or wheeling in preracks. As soon as Colin heard this, he flung his victim cise curves, together with the rules and habits observed away upon the grass, and looked wildly around him. in their tents—their clothing and bedding folded, and “ Je-ru-sa-lem!—who's skeered ?” said he. Little Phi- every article in its right place-produced among the lip, Redesdale, and Julian, came to his side. All rolled young cadets a new-born zeal, a perfect epidemic for up their coat sleeves, and a general fight was at hand. order; but that is a healthy fever. But the officer of the day came in, and spoilt the anti- It is possible that out of order, beauty is born—or, at cipated fun of thrashing the plebe class, en masse. least, some dim perception of beauty; a very wee thing,

No doubt they would have done it-for the old struggling for existence, blind as a young animal, and cadets were three to one, and possessed the grand moral groping for light. At any rate, for the first time, a of confidence: while the plebes had been browbeaten, sense of beauty stole upon Philip's soul, as he and Colin and taken down in various ways, till there was scarce a sat there on the Hudson Highlands. Yet, perbaps, bis whit of conceit left in them.

observations were not profound. Next day, the whole body of cadets, old and new, 'Pretty fair !" quoth he. marched into camp for the summer. Now commenced “ Hem! What !" asked his taciturn friend. the grand sport of the season, "devilling plebes.” If a “The view,” returned Philip. devilled turkey could be alive and conscious, we doubt “ Hem! for those who like it." whether his sensations were worthy of comparison with “The still, shining river,” said Philip, looking around those of a devilled plebe—such roasting! such basting! to see they were quite alone, “makes me think of the

Plebes on police, with broom and wheelbarrow-old canal. The hills rising one upon another actus there goes one general's, two governors, one senator's, yonder, and mingling away into the sky—I don't know and three poor men's sons, in one party, picking up chews what they do remind me of, but it's something. of tobacco, which those youngsters, lolling in tents, toss

“ Colin ?" after a pause. in their way. Philip lived between the wheelbarrow “ Hem! Wbat, Philip ?" and the guard-house, where he was thrown on the “Isn't it queer how a thing will remind you of slightest pretence, real or fictitious. Redesdale and another thing you can never have seen before ?" Julian fare scarcely better. Redesdale's friend, May- “Dream, perhaps. Hem !" berry, delights to “devil” his plebe—and Julian, like “That's what Nan used to say, and then at other Philip and Colin, is now the better off for having no times she'd say, on Sunday nights, as we lay together, friend, whether pretended or not. No plebe escapes talking, she'd say she believed it is something we've devilling, for the reason, that none before him ever did. seen before in the sky—in heaven, perhaps."

“Whether,” said Julian to Philip, "you step off or “Hem! I guess so. I never could explain things. step on a sentinel's post-whether you refuse to answer I never was peert. The children always stumped me

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

with their questions. I've an idea—hem!--that chil- i guard made this pretence to order Colin to walk slower. dren-hem-no, I haven't any idea."

The huge fellow seized little Phil around the waist, and 66 What?”

strode easily up the toilsome steep, his companions puff* Well, that children are men and women turned up- ing and perspiring well, at a half-run, too proud to side down, some way, as a man is when standing on his find fault. head, looking at the sky," said Colin, in an unusual The party reached camp, appearing much as if the burst of his confidence, tearing the latch-string all to guard had been captured, instead of the prisoners, and pieces.

dragged in, nolens volens, completely fagged out. The Then the two sat musing in silence till the band was patrol was laughed at for their pains by the rest of heard, and the corps of cadets appeared after it, with the guard, and in their chagrin they resolved on having the great revered general in their midst. At the wharf their revenge on the plebe yet. They could not detain they formed two open ranks, facing towards each other, him a prisoner long, because all this sort of deviltry is and the white-haired veteran passed between, with his carried on unknown to the officers of the institution. hat off, leaning on the superintendent's arm. The So that, for roll calls, and other gatherings, the prisonsteamer had just started, and was fast coming opposite ers are released and turned back to their own tents. the cliff on which they sat, when a voice behind them It was to smoke the monster-Colin chewed—but called

said he did not smoke tobacco. The patrol and many “Plebes, off limits! Fall in for the guard tent.” others, among them, Mayberry, in the plot, gathered

They looked petulantly around-there was a patrol that night into his tent. Great, liberal-hearted fellow, of the guard, ready to seize and bear them off.

he could refuse an enemy nothing—besides, it is a Much as the two friends wished to wait till the boat feather in your cap to have an old cadet visit your passed, enabling them to obtain a nearer view of the plebish tent. So Colin borrowed pipes and turned out general, their voice was not regarded, and accord- tobacco freely, and the tent was soon filled with smoke. ingly they “ fell in."

Philip was easily sickened, and begged to be let out. The ascent to camp was steep and rocky. Colin com- Their designs were not on him—he might go. They menced marching fast; not to be outdone by a plebe, fastened the front of the tent together closely after the guard quickened their pace, but Philip, unaccus

him. tomed to rocky hill-climbing, lagged behind, and the

(To be continued.)

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »